WAR GOES HOLLYWOOD?
The Army Times reports that forty actors were drafted to portray protesters to shout "Go home USA" in a mock confrontation with 350 soldiers descending on a fictitious Arab town, a scenario troops may face in a war with Iraq. The Army Times goes on to report that about 40 civilian actors gathered by a local casting company were paid to play town citizens whose mood about the Americans ranged from eager-to-please to downright hostile.
Now I see where war gets all its football analogies...this reminds me of football coaches piping in pre-recorded crowd noise during practices the week before a game. My curiosity about this event is endless. Did you have to be a serious anti-war activist to get hired or was just being a good actor good enough? What do they say to you when you amble up to the recruitment desk? Ok, how hard can you throw a rotten tomato? Can you foam at the mouth on command? Can you wave protest placards while wearing a biochemical suit? How good are you at burning people in effigy?
And how do you decide which is more challenging as an actor, playing eager-to-please or playing downright hostile? I think I'd like to try the earnestly bitter Baghdad fruit vendor. Or maybe the indignant Palestinian live-in maid. I can see a whole sitcom developing out of this, honestly. The Angry Iraqis.You could have the disenchanted and humiliated peacenik. Maybe an old guy, like the grandfather of the peacenik, puffing away on his apple tobacco-filled hooka while dispensing local wisdoms to the protestors recovering at the first-aid station. Then you could have the radicalist brother in-law who burns the American flag every episode and spends his free time building elaborate effigies of George Bush and Tony Blair. Maybe a hot chick, the daughter of the family, mixed up with the romantic ideologies of her radicalist husband and studying to get her doctorate in fetal malnutrition. Every episode would involve a different group of American soldiers to heckle and jeer. Maybe viewers at home could vote on their favorite soldiers and those soldiers would return the following week and at the end of the season they get to be on the cover of Tiger Beat and The Rolling Stone and get their own talk shows on the Soldier Channel. And all of the characters in the family would all wear identical, plastic Saddam faces and moustache. At the end of every episode, the family members all gather on the roof of their apartment building and in unison, fire their rifles into the pungent night air.
As good ole Gene Brown once said: "foolproof systems do not take into account the ingenuity of fools."